Vaccination debate: side effects do not appear late

fact finder

Status: 25.10.2021 12:33 p.m.

Football national player Kimmich would like to wait for long-term studies. Skeptics point to the swine flu vaccination, which had long-term effects. But they didn’t appear late.

By Patrick Gensing, editorial office at ARD-faktenfinder

The chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO), Thomas Mertens, has rejected the concerns of national soccer player Joshua Kimmich because of the lack of long-term studies on vaccines. Kimmich is certainly “a proven expert in matters of football, but not an expert in matters of vaccination and vaccines,” said Mertens. Nevertheless, he “expressed his concerns about a problem that is certainly seen that way by some people in our society,” said Mertens of the dpa.

Bayern professional Kimmich said on Saturday that he had “a few personal concerns, especially about the lack of long-term studies”.

When a vaccine is released for use in humans, there are accompanying studies that carefully examine whether there could be serious side effects when using it, replied Mertens. “You have to consider that seven billion doses of people have now been vaccinated with Covid-19 vaccine,” he said. “It is clear that there can be no ten-year observational studies when a vaccine is used for almost a year.” This applies not only to every other vaccine that is used for the first time, but also to every new drug.

“In addition to the approval studies, we know from the accompanying studies that there were only a few side effects, all of which occurred quite a short time after the vaccination,” said Mertens. Scientists agree that side effects occurring late after a vaccination “do not occur or were an extremely rare rarity with individual vaccines”.

Side effects occurred promptly

In debates about possible long-term effects, critics repeatedly refer to vaccination against swine flu, which had long-term effects. However, long-term effects are not side effects that appear late, but that can last longer.

So there had actually been side effects soon after the outbreak of influenza and vaccinations were reported and subsequently researched. The cause is said to have been a vaccination booster that is no longer used – not with mRNA vaccines anyway.

This very rare side effect was not found in the clinical tests. The advantage of corona vaccinations is that there have never been so many resources in research and so many participants in studies. This would allow possible side effects to be better recognized, explained the chemist and journalist Mai Thi Nguyen-Kim im fact finder podcast.

For example, a very rare but serious suspected side effect of AstraZeneca was discovered after the vaccination campaign began and recommendations for the vaccine were adjusted. A serious side effect such as narcolepsy in the swine flu vaccination would have long been noticed in billions of vaccinations worldwide.

Suspected cases are documented

In addition, the public attention for the corona pandemic and the vaccines is immense, indications of suspected cases of side effects are collected and evaluated in various ways in order to ensure the safety of the substances. The mere number of suspicious transaction reports is not an indication of an actual risk, as has been shown in some media reports.

“The great advantage of Covid-19 vaccinations is that we have used this vaccine on many people in a short time,” emphasizes Carsten Watzl, Secretary General of the German Society for Immunology. In Germany alone there are more than 100 million cans, and many billions worldwide. “So we already know about the rare side effects such as sinus vein thrombosis, myocarditis and others.”

“Side effects always occur within a few weeks”

The Covid-19 vaccines have already been better researched than other vaccines in terms of rare side effects, says Watzl. In addition: “Side effects of a vaccination always occur within a few weeks after the vaccination,” he emphasizes. “The fact that I will be vaccinated today and will have a side effect next year does not exist, has never happened before and will not occur with the Covid-19 vaccination either.”

What can happen, however, is that very rare side effects are only associated with a vaccine at a later date. But the more people are vaccinated, the lower the risk that very rare side effects will not be recognized.

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